Marketers ditch metaverse to embrace generative AI

metaverse-new2.jpgMarketers’ long-held obsession with the latest shiny tech is seeing businesses ditch the metaverse in their droves to embrace generative AI, with 72% planning to prioritise AI spending this year, and two-thirds (67%) aiming to put up to 30% of their marketing budgets towards the technology.

That is one of the key findings from Sitecore’s “AI & Composable Marketing Software Survey”, designed to both understand marketers’ use of generative AI and discover how the technology can improve the digital experiences offered by brands – ultimately leading to more personalised content.

However, despite the eagerness to invest, there is a concern from marketers that they are not yet ready to fully benefit from generative AI.

Almost half (45%) do not feel their marketing technology is currently equipped to leverage generative AI, highlighting the importance of a flexible tech stack in order to reap the benefits of generative AI. In fact, 70% plan to move towards more composable software solutions.

The findings also highlight ongoing skills gaps that continue to plague the marketing industry, with the Chartered Institute of Marketing previously pointing to a stagnation in digital skills in 2021.

Today, two-out-of-five marketers (42%) surveyed by Sitecore still feel their marketing team lacks technical skills, although an overwhelming majority (92%) think AI will actually plug skills gaps in their businesses and 70% think it will lead to new jobs being created.

This lack of know-how has not stopped marketers from experimenting with generative AI, however, but the research does suggest the UK is lagging behind the US. In the UK, 63% have experimented with the technology, versus 80% in the US. Looking ahead, only 32% of UK marketers feel it is too soon to invest in generative AI, with 68% saying the opposite.

Sitecore chief product officer Dave O’Flanagan said: “The recent rate of innovation in marketing technology has been truly remarkable. Rather than becoming overwhelmed and exhausted by these advancements, we’ve found marketers to be bold and experimental in embracing technologies like ChatGPT.

“Unlike other tools that have been tough to implement, generative AI shows promise in not only being relatively easy to incorporate into composable martech stacks but also quick to have a measurable impact on marketing campaigns.”

Generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, have quickly captured and held the interest of marketers. Last year, the metaverse had marketers scrambling to stake a claim in the virtual world. Today, however, it appears to be losing momentum.

Sitecore’s 2022 Perceptions of the Metaverse report found that more than half (56%) of marketers had invested in “metaverse-like technologies.”

This recent survey found metaverse projects have fallen behind AI (72%) and digital experience software (68%) as a top priority, with just less than a quarter (24%) of respondents ranking it as the most important. Additionally, a third (33%) reported reallocating budget from metaverse projects to support the deployment of AI.

The vast majority of marketers say that AI will make them a better marketer (93%) and more competitive (91%). Importantly, three-quarters of marketers say AI will offer them the opportunity to get closer to customers: 69% say it will allow them to create more personalised content; 68% say it will allow them to better understand customer needs; and 60% say it will provide a steady stream of relevant content.

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